Cruise ships could be making a stop in Delta

Cruise ships in Delta?

Large cruise ships could be making regular stops in Delta.

A couple of years prior to the pandemic, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority was looking into the feasibility of building a new terminal in Delta, but things were put on hold due to COVID-19.

The port had been looking into the idea of building a second Lower Mainland cruise ship terminal on the banks of the Fraser River, already having conducted a preliminary study looking at potential sites in Delta or Richmond.

It is an analysis that was driven by growth in cruise volumes and cruise lines using bigger vessels. The newer, larger vessels can’t travel under the Lions Gate Bridge, which is another factor.

In April 2022, Vancouver’s port community and tourism industry partners celebrated the restart of cruising in Vancouver.

The port authority said that in the first half of this year, 119 cruise ships called in at the Canada Place cruise terminal, a 10 per cent increase in ship calls over the same period in 2019.

“The great news story this year really is the return of cruise,” Port of Vancouver president and CEO Robin Silvester told the Optimist this week. “We’ve actually seen more ships call Vancouver than any previous year, albeit, they haven’t been as full as they normally would have been. At the start of the season, we saw them roughly 50 per cent full. Towards the end of the season, we’re seeing them roughly 75-to-80 per cent full, so, it’s a really successful restart to the cruise business in Vancouver. There’s obviously some really strong benefits to that for all the tourism businesses around the region.”

Silvester the Port of Vancouver is once again hearing renewed interest in increased capacity from the industry.

“As far as the conversations we’ve had with the cruise industry, they’ve certainly continued to be interested in more capacity and capacity to handle the bigger ships that now can’t get under the Lions Gate Bridge,” he said. “These conversations are starting to get going again, after a couple of years pause when we just focused on bringing the industry back. It’s a project that’s not on the corner of our desk, but moved back in the conversation, but we’re not at the stage where we can give more details.”

Silvester previously said that building a man-made island, as would be the case for the proposed Terminal 2 container facility at Roberts Bank, would be an enormous undertaking, so a cruise ship terminal on existing land along the Fraser River could be a good option if the port decided to move ahead.

The cruise ship industry this week welcomed the Canadian government’s announcement that COVID-related travel protocols, including vaccination and testing requirements and use of the ArriveCan app, will be ending.

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